Saturday, May 28, 2022

YOU ASKED IT | 27 May, 2022

Would you call Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 the saviour of Bollywood, now that it has clicked and given the Hindi film industry such respite?

– Calling the film a saviour would be a bit too much. And I’ll tell you why. It’s not as if Bollywood would have shut down had BHOOL BHULAIYAA 2 not done well. A section of the media may have had us believe that that would have happened, but as prudent trade people, we know, that was not going to happen. The film is a hit, no doubt, and kudos to the director, producers, writers, stars, actors and others who made the film possible.

How much bearing does a star’s personal life have on his/her professional life?

– In the good old days, personal lives of stars did not have much bearing on their careers or professional lives. That’s because the public used to get a peek into their personal lives through gossip magazines which were not sacrosanct. But today, with most stars being on social media, their personal lives are an open book. Hence, that does have a bearing on their professional lives too, to an extent, at least. Having said that, let me add that Indians are a very forgiving lot. Even if they let their opinion about a star (based on what he/she does in his/her personal life) cloud their judgement about him/her on the negative side, they would rush to watch his/her film if they hear good public reports about the film.

Will Neetu Singh Kapoor continue to act in films or is Jugjugg Jeeyo a one-off case?

– She will continue to accept acting offers that are worth her while.

YOU ASKED IT | 20 May, 2022

When will this dry spell of Bollywood end? Or will it ever end?

– Of course, it will come to an end. Don’t lose heart! It’s definitely not the end of the world for the Hindi film industry. It may be passing through terrible times but what seems to be magnifying the problem is that simultaneously when original Hindi films aren’t performing well at the box-office, dubbed Hindi versions of South films are going great guns. And by the way, your prayers seem to have already been answered. The initial of BHOOL BHULAIYAA 2 in the national multiplex chains today is excellent.

Producers learn their lesson when films expected to earn profits turn out to be box-office duds. But for a producer like Aditya Chopra, the returns from non-theatrical sources are so huge that even their flop film like Jayeshbhai Jordaar turns out to be an earning proposal at the end of the day. Does it mean that he will never learn a lesson?

– Why just Aditya Chopra? Do you really think, producers ever learn their lesson? I don’t think so. Everyone is in such a tearing hurry to make films that they don’t seem to have the time to take a step back and analyse why their film flopped. The easiest escape route for a producer, who has delivered a flop, is to say that nobody can predict what will work at the box-office and what won’t, and move on to the next project. Have you ever heard of a producer trying hard to understand the reasons for his film’s failure? If you ask me, I would still condone a failure but what is more shocking is when a producer is convinced, after watching the film but before its release, that he has made a successful film, a hit or a blockbuster, and that film turns out to be a flop. That is cause for concern, especially in the case of recent Hindi films like JAYESHBHAI JORDAAR, RUNWAY 34, and HEROPANTI 2, all of which have flopped because they’ve been rejected by the paying public.

I am a struggling actor. I’m trying my best to get a break in films but it’s just not happening. Can you give me some tips?

– Getting a break is one of the most difficult things in the film industry because there are lakhs of people like you, who nurture dreams of becoming actors and who are struggling like you. But you should not restrict yourself to trying for a break in films only. Try to get work on television, in web series, maybe even theatre. In short, you ought to be acting on whatever platform possible. This will help you hone your skills and also reduce your frustration. Also, give yourself a realistic time frame for your struggle. If you get a break within that time, great; if not, try your hand at something else.

YOU ASKED IT | 13 May, 2022

Why do you think, the trailer of Major, made in Hindi and Telugu, has been liked so much by the public? Is it because the current public sentiments are in favour of South films? After all, it stars a Telugu film star and what’s more, the story of the film (about army officer Sandeep Unnikrishnan) is well-known in view of the media coverage he got after he was martyred in the November 2008 terror attacks in Bombay.

– If the fondness for a trailer had anything to do with the public sentiments being in favour of South films, the trailer of RAW (dubbed version of Tamil BEAST) would also have been loved by the audience, but we know, that’s not true. The trailer is receiving the love of the paying public because it’s a good trailer, period. After that, it doesn’t even make a difference that the story of the film’s subject is in the public domain.

Will Jayeshbhai Jordaar take a flying start today, befitting the stardom of its hero, Ranveer Singh?

– Definitely not, because the trailers of the film, after the first trailer, have not been liked too much by the public. Generally, each trailer adds to the film’s likeability. That didn’t happen in the case of JAYESHBHAI JORDAAR. The initial euphoria for the film was not maintained by the latter promotion of the film.

Will Liger be the next big South blockbuster in the Hindi-speaking belt?

– You never know! Incidentally, like MAJOR, LIGER is also not dubbed in Hindi. It has been shot in Telugu and Hindi, just like MAJOR.

YOU ASKED IT | 6 May, 2022

Will the debacle of Heropanti 2 put an end to the franchise?

– Probably so. The film has not found favour with the audience and, therefore, attempting a third part in the series would require nerves of steel.

What went wrong with Runway 34?

– The audience found the second half an exercise in futility. For the paying public, Ajay Devgan (Captain Vikrant Khanna) had already become a hero at interval point when he safely landed the aircraft in near-impossible conditions. Even if in saving the lives of the passengers and the aircraft, he broke some rules, it did not matter to the audience or make him any less a hero in their eyes. Hence the court case thereafter made little sense to the viewers. That’s how the public thinks. You may argue that the film is based on a real-life story. The counter-argument is: every real-life story may not be appreciated by the public, on the big screen. So one has to either tweak the real-life story, change the narration structure, or simply not make a film based on that story.

Why has no major Hindi film opened today?

– Because DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS (dubbed) has opened today. That’s such a formidable opposition that no Hindi film producer wanted to risk releasing his film alongside the Hollywood film.

YOU ASKED IT | 29 April, 2022

It’s very rare for a film in its second week to fare better than a star cast film in its first week. And yet, that’s what happened with K.G.F. Chapter 2 (dubbed) in its second week, and Jersey in its first week. Why do you think, this happened?

– The shelf life of K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 (dubbed) was far more than just a week. Hence it continued to do roaring business in its second week. Simultaneously, the public reports of the new release, JERSEY, were fairly good but not great, and definitely not half as good as those of K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 (dubbed). Just one more point here: the shelf life of K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 (dubbed) is not yet over. In other words, even in its third week, it will prove to be an extremely strong opposition for this week’s releases.

What is the lesson to learn from the box-office failure of Jersey? That cricket films are not in fashion?

– The only lesson to learn is that one should not be in a hurry to release his film if there’s a tornado already sweeping the nation. The tornado in this case was K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 (dubbed). Its opposition proved monstrous for JERSEY.

Are Bollywood producers shaken with the recent stupendous success of South dubbed films and the simultaneous failure of original Hindi content?

– You bet! Not just Bollywood producers but also Hindi film stars, writers and directors are shaken out of their wits.

YOU ASKED IT | 22 April, 2022

Will the domestic theatrical business of K.G.F. Chapter 2 be more than the lifetime domestic box-office collections of Dangal? What will you consider — the business of all the versions of K.G.F. Chapter 2 or only the Hindi dubbed version — while drawing a comparison with Dangal?

– We will compare the business of DANGAL with that of the Hindi dubbed version of K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 only, because a Hindi film’s business needs to be compared with another Hindi film’s business only. And yes, K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 will definitely surpass DANGAL. Once it does, the order in terms of domestic theatrical business would be: (1) BAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION (dubbed), (2) K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 (dubbed), (3) DANGAL.

Will Bollywood filmmakers now restart making action films?

– Yes, they definitely will, now that the Hindi dubbed versions of three South Indian action films have succeeded at the turnstiles. PUSHPA: THE RISE PART 1 (Hindi dubbed) was a hit, RRR (Hindi dubbed) was a bigger hit, and K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 (Hindi dubbed) is the biggest of the three. Frankly, the Bollywood trade misjudged the scenario and propounded the theory that multiplex audiences do not like action fares. They have now realised that their conclusion was completely wrong because all the three abovementioned action fares have done roaring business in the multiplexes just like they’ve done in the single-screen cinemas.

Why does the trade attach so much importance to the opening day’s collections of a film?

– Simply because the business today is that of initial. There are so many films in the release pipeline that films rarely get a chance to grow after a weak start. Even if a film’s content is very strong but it does not open too well, there’s a limit to how much it can grow after a dull start because cinemas (single-screen as well as multiplex) have to allot shows to new films slated for release in the weeks that follow. In other words, the running films have to be sacrificed for the newer ones. If a film takes a flying start, it does not need to run for a long time in the cinemas to become profitable.

YOU ASKED IT | 15 April, 2022

Why are your reviews of films not highlighted in half- and full-page advertisements issued by producers for their films on the day of release of the films or on the following day or following Sunday?

– Only those reviews which talk in glowing terms about the film are highlighted in the advertisements, for obvious reasons. Strangely and quite often, the one-liners and stars mentioned against the names of the reviewers are given before some of those reviewers have even watched the film in question! That is why you may generally be seeing the same names being highlighted. Do you think, I would fall prey to such gimmicks? I don’t believe in pleasing producers. I am happy that my readers/viewers trust my reviews. That’s far, far more important than one’s name being flashed in dubious newspaper ads.

How were you so confident about the bumper opening of K.G.F. Chapter 2? In your ‘You Asked It’ column of 1st April (two weeks before the film’s release), you had said that the craze for the film was growing by the day and that the film’s opening would be bumper.

– You have my answer in your observation. I could say what I said because the craze for the film was growing by the day. If you want to understand how I gauged that, well, one has to have his ear to the ground all the time in this industry.

Was the decision of the producers of Jersey to postpone their film, right?

– Of course, it was cent per cent right. Looking to the bumper-and-beyond initial of K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 yesterday (Thursday, April 14), one can well say that releasing JERSEY alongside K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 would have been suicidal for the producers and distributors of JERSEY.


YOU ASKED IT | 8 April, 2022

The business of The Kashmir Files was affected after the release of RRR. Now, the business of RRR will be adversely affected after the release of K.G.F. Chapter 2 next week. Can’t something be done about this?

– The only way to address this genuine problem is to have more number of cinemas. But even after that, new films will always continue to affect the collections of already released films albeit to a limited extent.

Why is Sajid Nadiadwala no longer the producer of Kabhi Eid Kabhi Diwali?

– There were differences between Sajid Nadiadwala and the film’s hero, Salman Khan, over the point of sharing IP and revenues. So as to not let that strain their friendship, the two decided that Salman Khan should produce the film under his own banner. Hence Sajid Nadiadwala is no longer a part of the film.

How do OTT platforms decide on their film acquisitions?

– Just like distributors do.

YOU ASKED IT | 1 April, 2022

Why are many in the trade unwilling to accept that RRR (dubbed) has done exceedingly well?

– Those who feel, RRR is not up to the mark, had assumed before its release that it would be another BAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION, which was also directed by S.S. Rajamouli. They forgot that every film of Rajamouli cannot be a BAHUBALI.

Will K.G.F. Chapter 2 open as well as RRR?

– The craze for K.G.F. CHAPTER 2 is growing by the day. Whether it opens as well as RRR or less than it or more than it, the fact remains that its opening will be bumper.

Why did the producers of Jersey not schedule its release for 8th April instead of pitting it in direct opposition of K.G.F. Chapter 2 on 14th April?

– Like K.G.F. CHAPTER 2, the producers of JERSEY also wanted to take advantage of the Good Friday holiday on 15th April (Friday). Additionally, 14th April has the advantage of being a holiday for Mahavir Jayanti, Dr. Ambedkar Jayanti and Baisakhi.

YOU ASKED IT | 25 March, 2022

Is the success of The Kashmir Files unparalleled?

– This success story reminds one of the runaway success of JAI SANTOSHI MAA in 1975.

Will the unimaginable success of The Kashmir Files change the way films are made and will it also prompt filmmakers to make serious films now?

– There will be a handful of producers who will announce serious films, now that THE KASHMIR FILES is such a huge hit, but please don’t expect the entire industry to change because of one film, howsoever huge its success. This is like saying that after the stupendous success of JAI SANTOSHI MAA in 1975, producers only made mythological films. But we all know, that’s not true.

Would Bachchhan Paandey have done well at the box-office if The Kashmir Files was not so strong in its second week?

– The business of BACHCHHAN PAANDEY was slightly adversely affected because of THE KASHMIR FILES but to think that if it would not have had to face the opposition of THE KASHMIR FILES, its fate would’ve changed is baseless. We’ve had two films releasing on the same day and both clicking at the box-office. GADAR EK PREM KATHA and LAGAAN were simultaneously released, and both were hits. There are other similar examples.